This is China’s century, it is known by America هذا قرن الصين تعرفه أميركا

 This is China’s century, it is known by America

أكتوبر 31, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Those who are deeply involved  in reading the American unilateral and insist on being dazzled by the fact that America was and will remain the main player in the international arena,  have to return to the writings of the neo-conservatives and the expectations of the US major thinkers as Samuel Huntington, Francis Fukuyama and Bernard Lewis about the last opportunity of America for investing in order to stabilize its leadership, which its ceiling is the first quarter of the twenty-first century, otherwise China is coming. This century is China’s, the time of collapse and decline in the situation of Russia will end before the end of the first quarter of the twenty-first century. The economic power of China will get it out to politics and markets together, and it will converge with Russia in the attempt to replace the dollar as the main currency in the world. So what is available for America and what it must not be delayed for is to stick to the energy resources and the ways of their flow before the end of the deadline. The war on the region between the Caspian, the Red, the Black and the Mediterranean Seas will determine the fate of the world, its system, and its leadership. By the way it is the region for which the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has called its leaders to form a regional system under the name of the five seas region, but after adding the Gulf to them.

The war of the five seas has occurred but it will not continue after it lost the momentum. What has affected the US war in its goals, alliances, and its armies is enough to announce its failure, and the quest to stick to the energy resources to control the Chinese growth and the price of the Chinese goods has become a lost dream, moreover, the plans of controlling the energy flow from Russia to Europe have failed, and its sale has been imposed with cheap prices in order to grant the heavy European economics the opportunities to grow, beholding it the costs of including the poor countries of the Eastern Europe in order to tighten the siege of Russia to force it to surrender. The war is approaching of its end; Russia and China have the keys of economic, military, and political rise, most importantly to reach the seas, while Syria was the key opportunity for that positioning.

Russia and China have tested two experiences towards internationality, but their essence was the same, the failure which affected the traditional example of socialism with the experience of the Soviet Union has led them practically towards the state capitalism, whether it was called in Russia the social liberalism and the multi-capitalist economy or was called in China the socialist market economy. The essence of the new economy of the two countries based on a country that sticks to the strategic resources of economy and leaves the free competition to the private sector, and which sticks strongly to the social role of the country through the high social guarantees presented by it to the poor and those of small income.

But the new state capitalism in China and Russia depends on a new pillar; its socialist content, where the transformation which each of Russia and China inserted into their understanding of the socialist economics depends, it is the realization that the surplus value which achieves the capital accumulation is not in the labor force and what the producers do, which means not in the production, as what Karl Marx and Frederic Engels, the founders of socialism wrote, but in the exchange, where the transportation of goods, the raw materials, and the energy resources play a pivotal role in determining the quantity of the capital accumulation which is achieved by production. The exchange is the next step of the four economic processes through which Marx and Engels have summarized the capital process ” production, distribution, exchange, and consumption” No matter if the Chinese or the Russians formulated this transformation in the concept of the economic philosophy as much as it is important that it forms the essence power of Russia and China today. Today Russia is a state of oil and gas pipelines, while China is the state of railways.

Those who observe China and Russia during the past quarter will discover the size of the linkage between the economic growth of both of them and the sticking of the country to the essence of the economic process. for example, In Russia, there are means of transferring energy, while in China there are means for transferring the raw materials and goods, and will discover also an objective proportion  between this growth and the natural wealth of the two countries. Russia is the country of oil and gas, while China is the country of steel, He will discover as well the reasons of the superiority of Russia and China and their success through avoiding the fall before the US efforts of hegemony, through the sticking  strongly to the virtual transportation  of energy and goods together which are represented by the banking transactions, it is a means that cannot be developed and it is not suitable to achieve the development of the American economy but virtually, as has happened in the stock exchange of Wall Street before its explosion,  and in the real estate market before its bankruptcy. While China will have an open range of  development as long as the railways which it tries to form commensurate with the size of the goods which it produces and  which are able to be marketed at home and abroad. Russia will have the opportunities as long as the oil and gas pipelines which it makes commensurate with the market need of oil and gas to which it exports and which need them but at a satisfactory price that suits the production averages and their prices. Washington entered the phase in which its growth became negative, after it transcended the red lines to expand its banking market and its paper transactions to the ceilings of the goods and the real goods around which money, banks and the stock markets circulate. Perhaps waging a war by America is an expression of the inability to play with time without a violent intervention that changes the course of the natural developments and bears the consequences of the competition which is determined by nature.

China exceeds Russia because it is an internal market that is wider four times, and because it produces goods and commodities not only the energy resources and the raw materials. So within few years it will reach according to the recognition of the International Monetary Fund the world’s largest economy after surpassing the American economy, and it will reach according to the recognition of the same Fund the first country in possessing the money in circulation, thus it will surpass Japan. Because there is no limit that prevents what is needed by the global market from the Chinese goods at reasonable prices, the success of China internationality will depend on solving problems of the local assembly which is close to the markets in order to save the cost and to try to protect through getting a consensus from the producers, and the winning of challenge will depend on the arrival of the goods to the markets at a suitable time and cost , just for that China prepares itself for a global campaign through One Belt One Road Initiative which based on the transportation network and industrial free zones to Asia towards the gates of Europe and Africa, and which its wide outcome will start to emerge in the year 2025 and will end within a context of an accelerated sustained growth in 2050.

Within years China will be able to absorb a huge amounts of the Gulf oil and the Russian, Iranian, and Qatari gas, as it will be able to spread huge quantities of its half-manufactured goods to hundreds of the industrial free zones that are built around hundreds of thousands of kilometers of the railways, it will spread in the markets more quantities of the consumer goods that are ready to be consumed directly.  The Chinese steel will be the crossing bridge through giant transport lines and exceptional high-speed trains. China will have surplus of thousands of trillions of currencies that are not monopolized by the US dollar including the Russia Ruble and the Chinese Yuan, therefore, the world will be in demand and China will expose its goods.

The Chinese and the Russian challenge represents by the ability to adapt the European West and the American to accept a balance in exchanging the outcomes of economy and its experiences, a balance in the game of power, and a balance in the management of politics because the years to come will grant Russia and China the opportunity of partnership between the first production country represented by China and the first energy and power country represented by Russia, so it will be difficult or even impossible to resist this bilateral. As Russia abandoned the race of arming in favor of reviving its economy decades ago, the West countries will take the initiative to call to eliminate of the useless accumulated nuclear arsenals in order to return the revival to its economy.

The sentence which was said by the President Bashar Al-Assad “ Heading eastward”  is neither mere a political choice for our country nor a reward for those who stood with us only, but it is a conscious anticipation for what is coming inevitably.

Xi Jinping is the new leader of China; he is coming with the giant railways, fast trains, and multi-cheap goods. Keep this name into your minds.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

هذا قرن الصين تعرفه أميركا

ناصر قنديل

أكتوبر 27, 2017

– للذين يتوهون في تفاصيل الاستغراق بقراءة الأحادية الأميركية ويصرّون على الانبهار بأنّ أميركا كانت وستبقى اللاعب الرئيسي المقرّر على الساحة الدولية، أن يعودوا إلى كتابات المحافظين الجدد، وتوقعات كبار المفكرين الأميركيين، من أمثال صموئيل هنتنغتون، وفرانسيس فوكوياما، وبرنارد لويس، عن فرصة أميركية لاستثمار سقفه الربع الأول من القرن الحادي والعشرين لتثبيت زعامتها، وإلا فإنّ الصين قادمة، والقرن قرن الصين، وأنّ زمن الانهيار والتراجع في حالة روسيا سينتهي قبل نهاية الربع الأول من القرن الحادي والعشرين، وأنّ قوة الصين الاقتصادية ستخرجها إلى السياسة والأسواق معاً وستجمعها مع روسيا على السعي لاستبدال الدولار كعملة رئيسية في العالم، وما تستطيعه أميركا وما يجب ألا تتأخر عنه هو الإمساك بمنابع الطاقة وطرق تدفقها، قبل نهاية المهلة، والحرب على منطقة ما بين بحار قزوين والأسود والأحمر والمتوسط ستقرّر مصير العالم ونظامه وزعامته، وهي بالمناسبة المنطقة التي دعا الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد قادتها لتشكيل منظمة إقليمية باسم منطقة البحار الخمسة مضيفاً الخليج إلى البحار الأربعة لتصير خمسة.

– دارت حرب البحار الخمسة ولن تستمرّ بعدما فقدت قوة الدفع، ولو جرجرت ذيولها لما تبقى من الربع الأول من القرن الحادي والعشرين، فما أصاب الحرب الأميركية بأهدافها وتحالفاتها وجيوشها كاف لإعلان فشلها، والسعي لإمساك مصادر الطاقة للتحكم بالنمو الصيني وأسعار السلع الصينية صار حلماً فائتاً، كما فشلت خطط التحكم بتدفق الطاقة من روسيا إلى أوروبا وفرض بيعها بأسعار رخيصة لتمنح الاقتصادات الأوروبية الثقيلة فرص النمو، وتعوّض عليها أكلاف ضمّها الدول الفقيرة شرق أوروبا بهدف إحكام حصار روسيا تمهيداً لفرض الاستسلام عليها. فالحرب تضع أوزارها أو تكاد بينما روسيا والصين تمسكان بمفاتيح الصعود الاقتصادي والسياسي والعسكري، والأهمّ بلوغ البحار، وقد كانت سورية مفتاح فرص هذا التموضع.

– خاضت روسيا والصين تجربتين مختلفين نحو العالمية، لكن جوهرهما واحد. فالفشل الذي أصاب النموذج التقليدي للاشتراكية مع تجربة الاتحاد السوفياتي، دفع بهما عملياً نحو رأسمالية الدولة، سواء جرت تسميتها في روسيا بالليبرالية المجتمعية والاقتصاد الرأسمالي المتعدّد، أو سمّيت في الصين باقتصاد السوق الاشتراكي، فجوهر اقتصاد البلدين الجديد يقوم على دولة تمسك بالمصادر الاستراتيجية للاقتصاد وتترك التنافس الحرّ للقطاع الخاص في سواها، وتتمسك بقوة بدور الدولة الاجتماعي بضمانات اجتماعية عالية تقدّمها الدولة للفقراء وذوي الدخل المحدود.

– لكن رأسمالية الدولة الجديدة في الصين وروسيا تعتمد على ركيزة جديدة هي مضمونها الاشتراكي، حيث يتشكل قلب التحوّل الذي أدخلته كلّ من روسيا والصين على فهمهما للاقتصاد الاشتراكي، هو إدراك أنّ فائض القيمة الذي يحقق التراكم الرأسمالي ليس في قوة العمل وما يبذله المنتجون، أيّ ليس في الإنتاج كما كتب كارل ماركس وفريديريك أنغلز، مؤسّسا الاشتراكية، بل في التبادل، حيث تلعب وسائل نقل السلع والمواد الخام وموارد الطاقة الدور المحوري في تحديد كمية التراكم الرأسمالي الذي يحققه الإنتاج، والتبادل هو الحلقة التالية من العمليات الاقتصادية الأربع التي لخّص بها العبقريان ماركس وأنغلز العملية الرأسمالية، «الإنتاج والتوزيع والتبادل والاستهلاك»، وليس مهماً إنْ صاغ الصينيون والروس هذا التحوّل بمفهوم فلسفة اقتصادية بقدر أهمية أنه يشكل جوهر قوة روسيا والصين اليوم، فروسيا دولة أنابيب النفط والغاز، والصين دولة خطوط سكك الحديد.

– مَن يراقب الصين وروسيا خلال ربع قرن مضى سيكتشف حجم الرابط بين النمو الاقتصادي لكليهما، بنمو إمساك الدولة بجوهر العملية الاقتصادية. في روسيا وسائل نقل الطاقة، وفي الصين وسائل نقل المواد الخام والبضائع، وسيكتشف تناسباً موضوعياً بين هذا النمو والثروات الطبيعية للبلدين، فروسيا بلد النفط والغاز والصين بلد الفولاذ، وسيكتشف أسباب تفوّق روسيا والصين ونجاحهما بتفادي السقوط أمام المساعي الأميركية للهيمنة بقوة الإمساك بوسيلة النقل الافتراضية للطاقة والبضائع معاً، التي تمثلها المعاملات البنكية، وهي وسيلة غير قابلة للنمو ولا تصلح بذاتها لتحقيق التنمية للاقتصاد الأميركي إلا افتراضياً، كما حدث في بورصات وول ستريت قبل انفجارها الدفتري، وفي سوق العقارات قبل إفلاسها. بينما في المقابل سيكون للصين مدى مفتوح في النمو ما دامت سكك الحديد التي تبنيها وتسعى لبنائها تتناسب مع حجم البضائع التي تنتجها والقابلة للتسويق في الداخل أو الخارج، ومثلها روسيا سيكون لها الفرص ما دامت أنابيب الغاز والنفط التي تنشئها متناسبة مع مقدار حاجة الأسواق للنفط والغاز الذي تصدّره إلى أسواق تحتاجه بسعر يناسب معادلات الإنتاج وأسعارها بينما واشنطن دخلت المرحلة التي صار نموّها فيها سلبياً، بعدما اجتازت الخطوط الحمراء لتوسّع سوقها المصرفية ومعاملاتها الورقية لسقوف البضائع والسلع الحقيقية التي يقوم المال وتقوم المصارف والبورصات بتداولها. ولعلّ الإقدام على خوض الحرب من الجانب الأميركي تعبير عن العجز عن اللعب مع الزمن دون تدخل عنيف يغيّر مسار التطورات الطبيعية، وتحمل نتائج التنافس الذي تقرّره الطبيعة.

– تتقدّم الصين على روسيا بكونها سوقاً داخلية أوسع بأربع مرات، وبكونها تنتج البضائع والسلع لا موارد الطاقة والمواد الخام فقط، ولذلك فهي ستبلغ في أعوام قليلة باعتراف صندوق النقد الدولي مرتبة الاقتصاد الأكبر في العالم، بعد تجاوزها للاقتصاد الأميركي، وستبلغ أيضاً باعتراف الصندوق نفسه مرتبة الدولة الأولى في امتلاك الكتل النقدية وتتخطى بذلك اليابان، ولأنّ لا مساحة تحدّ مما يحتاجه السوق العالمي من سلع صينية بأسعار مناسبة، سيتوقف نجاح عالمية الصين على حلّ معضلات التجميع المحلي القريب من الأسواق توفيراً للكلفة وسعياً للحماية بالحصول على توافق مع المنتجين فيها. كما سيتوقف الفوز بالتحدّي على وصول السلع للأسواق بوقت مناسب وكلفة مناسبة، لذلك تستعدّ الصين لحملة عالميتها بمشروع الحزام والطريق، القائم على شبكة مواصلات ومناطق حرة صناعية عابرتين لآسيا، وصولاً إلى أبواب أوروبا وأفريقيا، مقدّر له أن يبدأ ثماره الواسعة في العام 2025 وأن يبلغ نهايته في سياق نمو متسارع ومستديم في العام 2050.

– خلال سنوات ستكون الصين قادرة على امتصاص كميات هائلة من النفط الخليجي والغاز الروسي والإيراني والقطري، كما ستكون قادرة على ضخّ كميات هائلة من بضائعها نصف المصنّعة إلى مئات المناطق الصناعية الحرة التي تبنيها على محطات تتوزّع حول مئات آلاف الكيلومترات من سكك الحديد، وستقذف في الأسواق كميات أكبر من السلع الاستهلاكية الجاهزة للاستهلاك مباشرة، حيث الفولاذ الصيني سيكون جسر العبور بخطوط نقل عملاقة وقطارات سريعة لا مثيل لها في العالم، وستمتلك الصين فوائض مالية بآلاف التريليونات من سلة عملات لا يحتكرها الدولار الأميركي، يدخل بين مصنفاتها الروبل الروسي واليوان الصيني، وسيكون العالم في موضع الطلب والصين في موقع العرض.

– التحدّي الصيني والروسي يقف عند حدود القدرة على تطويع الغرب الأوروبي والأميركي لارتضاء توازن في تبادل خيرات الاقتصاد وخبراته، وتوازن في لعبة القوة، وتوازن في إدارة السياسة، لأنّ المقبل من السنوات سيمنح روسيا والصين فرصة الشراكة بين دولة الإنتاج الأولى التي ستمثلها الصين، ودولة القوة والطاقة الأولى التي تمثلها روسيا، وسيكون صعباً، بل مستحيلاً مقاومة سطوة هذا الثنائي. ومثلما تخلت روسيا عن سباق التسلح لإصلاح اقتصادها قبل عقود، ستجد دول الغرب أنها مَن سيبادر للدعوة للتخلص من الترسانات النووية المكدّسة بلا طائل، لتمكين اقتصاداتها من الانطلاق مجدّداً.

– التوجه شرقاً، الجملة التي قالها الرئيس بشار الأسد ليست مجرد خيار سياسي لبلادنا، ولا هي مكافأة لمن وقفوا معنا فقط، بل هي استباق واعٍ لما هو آت لا محالة.

– شي جينغ بينغ زعيم الصين الجديد، آتٍ بسكك الحديد العملاقة والقطارات السريعة، والسلع الرخيصة والمتعدّدة، احفظوا هذا الاسم جيداً.

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China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power

The Lessons of History

Global Research, October 28, 2017
Global Research 7 March 2012

First published on GR in March 2012

The study of world power has been blighted by Eurocentric historians who have distorted and ignored the dominant role China played in the world economy between 1100 and 1800.  John Hobson’s[1] brilliant historical survey of the world economy during this period provides an abundance of empirical data making the case for China ’s economic and technological superiority over Western civilization for the better part of a millennium prior to its conquest and decline in the 19th century.

China ’s re-emergence as a world economic power raises important questions about what we can learn from its previous rise and fall and about the external and internal threats confronting this emerging economic superpower for the immediate future.

First we will outline the main contours of historical China ’s rise to global economic superiority over West before the 19th century, following closely John Hobson’s account in The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization.  Since the majority of western economic historians (liberal, conservative and Marxist) have presented historical China as a stagnant, backward, parochial society, an “oriental despotism”, some detailed correctives will be necessary.  It is especially important to emphasize how China , the world technological power between 1100 and 1800, made the West’s emergence possible.  It was only by borrowing and assimilating Chinese innovations that the West was able to make the transition to modern capitalist and imperialist economies.

In part two we will analyze and discuss the factors and circumstances which led to China ’s decline in the 19th century and its subsequent domination, exploitation and pillage by Western imperial countries, first England and then the rest of Europe, Japan and the United States .

In part three, we will briefly outline the factors leading to China’s emancipation from colonial and neo-colonial rule and analyze its recent rise to becoming the second largest global economic power.

Finally we will look at the past and present threats to China ’s rise to global economic power, highlighting the similarities between British colonialism of the 18 and 19th centuries and the current US imperial strategies and focusing on the weaknesses and strengths of past and present Chinese responses.

China:  The Rise and Consolidation of Global Power 1100 – 1800

In a systematic comparative format, John Hobson provides a wealth of empirical indicators demonstrating China ’s global economic superiority over the West and in particular England .  These are some striking facts:

As early as 1078, China was the world’s major producer of steel (125,000 tons); whereas Britain in 1788 produced 76,000 tons.

China was the world’s leader in technical innovations in textile manufacturing, seven centuries before Britain ’s 18th century “textile revolution”.

China was the leading trading nation, with long distance trade reaching most of Southern Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe .  China’s ‘agricultural revolution’ and productivity surpassed the West down to the 18th century.

Its innovations in the production of paper, book printing, firearms and tools led to a manufacturing superpower whose goods were transported throughout the world by the most advanced navigational system.

China possessed the world’s largest commercial ships.  In 1588 the largest English ships displaced 400 tons, China ’s 3,000 tons.  Even as late as the end of the 18th century China ’s merchants employed 130,000 private transport ships, several times that of Britain . China retained this pre-eminent position in the world economy up until the early 19th century.

British and Europeans manufacturers followed China ’s lead, assimilating and borrowing its more advanced technology and were eager to penetrate China ’s advanced and lucrative market.

Banking, a stable paper money economy, manufacturing and high yields in agriculture resulted in China ’s per capita income matching that of Great Britain as late as 1750.

China ’s dominant global position was challenged by the rise of British imperialism, which had adopted the advanced technological, navigational and market innovations of China and other Asian countries in order to bypass earlier stages in becoming a world power[2].

Western Imperialism and the Decline of China

The British and Western imperial conquest of the East, was based on the militaristic nature of the imperial state, its non-reciprocal economic relations with overseas trading countries and the Western imperial ideology which motivated and justified overseas conquest.

Unlike China , Britain ’s industrial revolution and overseas expansion was driven by a military policy.  According to Hobson, during the period from 1688-1815 Great Britain was engaged in wars 52% of the time[3].  Whereas the Chinese relied on their open markets and their superior production and sophisticated commercial and banking skills, the British relied on tariff protection, military conquest, the systematic destruction of competitive overseas enterprises as well as the appropriation and plunder of local resources.  China ’s global predominance was based on ‘reciprocal benefits’ with its trading partners, while Britain relied on mercenary armies of occupation, savage repression and a ‘divide and conquer’ policy to foment local rivalries.  In the face of native resistance, the British (as well as other Western imperial powers) did not hesitate to exterminate entire communities[4].

Unable to take over the Chinese market through greater economic competitiveness, Britain relied on brute military power.  It mobilized, armed and led mercenaries, drawn from its colonies in India and elsewhere to force its exports on China and impose unequal treaties to lower tariffs.  As a result China was flooded with British opium produced on its plantations in India – despite Chinese laws forbidding or regulating the importation and sale of the narcotic.  China ’s rulers, long accustomed to its trade and manufacturing superiority, were unprepared for the ‘new imperial rules’ for global power.  The West’s willingness to use military power  to win colonies, pillage resources and recruit huge mercenary armies commanded by European officers spelt the end for China as a world power.

China had based its economic predominance on ‘non-interference in the internal affairs of its trading partners’.  In contrast, British imperialists intervened violently in Asia , reorganizing local economies to suit the needs of the empire (eliminating economic competitors including more efficient Indian cotton manufacturers) and seized control of local political, economic and administrative apparatus to establish the colonial state.

Britain ’s empire was built with resources seized from the colonies and through the massive militarization of its economy[5].  It was thus able to secure military supremacy over China .  China ’s foreign policy was hampered by its ruling elite’s excessive reliance on trade relations.  Chinese officials and merchant elites sought to appease the British and convinced the emperor to grant devastating extra-territorial concessions opening markets to the detriment of Chinese manufacturers while surrendering local sovereignty.  As always, the British precipitated internal rivalries and revolts further destabilizing the country.

Western and British penetration and colonization of China ’s market created an entire new class:  The wealthy Chinese ‘compradores’ imported British goods and facilitated the takeover of local markets and resources.  Imperialist pillage forced greater exploitation and taxation of the great mass of Chinese peasants and workers.  China ’s rulers were obliged to pay the war debts and finance trade deficits imposed by the Western imperial powers by squeezing its peasantry.  This drove the peasants to starvation and revolt.

By the early 20th century (less than a century after the Opium Wars), China had descended from world economic power to a broken semi-colonial country with a huge destitute population.  The principle ports were controlled by Western imperial officials and the countryside was subject to the rule by corrupt and brutal warlords.  British opium enslaved millions.

British Academics:  Eloquent Apologists for Imperial Conquest

The entire Western academic profession – first and foremost British  imperial historians – attributed British imperial dominance of Asia to English ‘technological superiority’ and China’s misery and colonial status to ‘oriental backwardness’, omitting any mention of the millennium of Chinese commercial and technical progress and superiority up to the dawn of the 19th century.  By the end of the 1920’s, with the Japanese imperial invasion, China ceased to exist as a unified country.  Under the aegis of imperial rule, hundreds of millions of Chinese had starved or were dispossessed or slaughtered, as the Western powers and Japan plundered its economy.  The entire Chinese ‘collaborator’ comprador elite were discredited before the Chinese people.

What did remain in the collective memory of the great mass of the Chinese people – and what was totally absent in the accounts of prestigious US and British academics – was the sense of China once having been a prosperous, dynamic and leading world power.  Western commentators dismissed this collective memory of China ’s ascendancy as the foolish pretensions of nostalgic lords and royalty – empty Han arrogance.

China Rises from the Ashes of Imperial Plunder and Humiliation:  The Chinese Communist Revolution

The rise of modern China to become the second largest economy in the world was made possible only through the success of the Chinese communist revolution in the mid-20th century.  The People’s Liberation ‘Red’ Army defeated first the invading Japanese imperial army and later the US imperialist-backed comprador led Kuomintang “Nationalist” army.  This allowed the reunification of China as an independent sovereign state.  The Communist government abolished the extra-territorial privileges of the Western imperialists, ended the territorial fiefdoms of the regional warlords and gangsters and drove out the millionaire owners of brothels, the traffickers of women and drugs as well as the other “service providers” to the Euro-American Empire.

In every sense of the word, the Communist revolution forged  the modern Chinese state.  The new leaders then proceeded to reconstruct an economy ravaged by imperial wars and pillaged by Western and Japanese capitalists.  After over 150 years of infamy and humiliation the Chinese people recovered their pride and national dignity.  These socio-psychological elements were essential in motivating the Chinese to defend their country from the US attacks, sabotage, boycotts, and blockades mounted immediately after liberation.

Contrary to Western and neoliberal Chinese economists, China ’s dynamic growth did not start in 1980.  It began in 1950, when the agrarian reform provided land, infrastructure, credits and technical assistance to hundreds of millions of landless and destitute peasants and landless rural workers. Through what is now called “human capital” and gigantic social mobilization, the Communists built roads, airfields, bridges, canals and railroads as well as the basic industries, like coal, iron and steel, to form the backbone of the modern Chinese economy.  Communist China’s vast free educational and health systems created a healthy, literate and motivated work force.  Its highly professional military prevented the US from extending its military empire throughout the Korean peninsula up to China ’s territorial frontiers.  Just as past Western scholars and propagandists fabricated a history of a “stagnant and decadent” empire to justify their destructive conquest, so too their modern counterparts have rewritten the first thirty years of Chinese Communist history, denying the role of the revolution in developing all the essential elements for a modern economy, state and society.  It is clear that China ’s rapid economic growth was based on the development of its internal market, its rapidly growing cadre of scientists, skilled technicians and workers and the social safety net which protected and promoted working class and peasant mobility were products of Communist planning and investments.

China ’s rise to global power began in 1949 with the removal of the entire parasitic financial, compradore and speculative classes who had served as the intermediaries for European, Japanese and US imperialists draining China of its great wealth.
China’s Transition to Capitalism

Beginning in 1980 the Chinese government initiated a dramatic shift in its economic strategy:  Over the next three decades, it opened the country to large-scale foreign investment; it privatized thousands of industries and it set in motion a process of income concentration based on a deliberate strategy of re-creating a dominant economic class of billionaires linked to overseas capitalists.  China ’s ruling political class embraced the idea of “borrowing” technical know-how and accessing overseas markets from foreign firms in exchange for providing cheap, plentiful labor at the lowest cost.

The Chinese state re-directed massive public subsidies to promote high capitalist growth by dismantling its national system of free public education and health care.  They ended subsidized public housing for hundreds of millions of peasants and urban factory workers and provided funds to real estate speculators for the construction of private luxury apartments and office skyscrapers. China ’s new capitalist strategy as well as its double digit growth was based on the profound structural changes and massive public investments made possible by the previous communist government.  China ’s private sector “take off” was based on the huge public outlays made since 1949.

The triumphant new capitalist class and its Western collaborators claimed all the credit for this “economic miracle” as China rose to become the world’s second largest economy.  This new Chinese elite have been less eager to announce China ’s world-class status in terms of brutal class inequalities, rivaling only the US .

China:  From Imperial Dependency to World Class Competitor

China ’s sustained growth in its manufacturing sector was a result of highly concentrated public investments, high profits, technological innovations and a protected domestic market.  While foreign capital profited, it was always within the framework of the Chinese state’s priorities and regulations.  The regime’s dynamic ‘export strategy’ led to huge trade surpluses, which eventually made China one of the world’s largest creditors especially for US debt.  In order to maintain its dynamic industries, China has required huge influxes of raw materials, resulting in large-scale overseas investments and trade agreements with agro-mineral export countries in Africa and Latin America .  By 2010 China displaced the US and Europe as the main trading partner in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America .

Modern China ’s rise to world economic power, like its predecessor between 1100-1800, is based on its gigantic productive capacity:  Trade and investment was governed by a policy of strict non-interference in the internal relations of its trading partners.  Unlike the US , China did initiate brutal wars for oil; instead it signed lucrative contracts.  And China does not fight wars in the interest of overseas Chinese, as the US has done in the Middle East for Israel .

The seeming imbalance between Chinese economic and military power is in stark contrast to the US where a bloated, parasitic military empire continues to erode its own global economic presence.

US military spending is twelve times that of China .  Increasingly the US military plays the key role shaping policy in Washington as it seeks to undercut China ’s rise to global power.

China’s Rise to World Power: Will History Repeat Itself?

China has been growing at about 9% per annum and its goods and services are rapidly rising in quality and value.  In contrast, the US and Europe have wallowed around 0% growth from 2007-2012.  China ’s innovative techno-scientific establishment routinely assimilates the latest inventions from the West (and Japan ) and improves them, thereby decreasing the cost of production.  China has replaced the US and European controlled “international financial institutions” (the IMF, World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank) as the principle lender in Latin America .  China continues to lead as the prime investor in African energy and mineral resources.  China has replaced the US as the principle market for Saudi Arabian, Sudanese and Iranian petroleum and it will soon replace the US as the principle market for Venezuela petroleum products.  Today China is the world’s biggest manufacturer and exporter, dominating even the US market, while playing the role of financial life line as it holds over $1.3 trillion in US Treasury notes.

Under growing pressure from its workers, farmers and peasants, China ’s rulers have been developing the domestic market by increasing wages and social spending to rebalance the economy and avoid the specter of social instability.  In contrast, US wages, salaries and vital public services have sharply declined in absolute and relative terms.

Given the current historical trends it is clear that China will replace the US as the leading world economic power, over the next decade,  if the US empire does not strike back and if China ’s profound class inequalities do not lead to a major social upheaval.

Modern China ’s rise to global power faces serious challenges.  In contrast to China ’s historical ascent on the world stage, modern Chinese global economic power is not accompanied by any imperialist undertakings.  China has seriously lagged behind the US and Europe in aggressive war-making capacity.  This may have allowed China to direct public resources to maximize economic growth, but it has left China vulnerable to US military superiority in terms of its massive arsenal, its string of forward bases and strategic geo-military positions right off the Chinese coast and in adjoining territories.

In the nineteenth century British imperialism demolished China ’s global position with its military superiority, seizing China ’s ports – because of China ’s reliance on ‘mercantile superiority’.

The conquest of India , Burma and most of Asia allowed Britain to establish colonial bases and recruit local mercenary armies.  The British and its mercenary allies encircled and isolated China , setting the stage for the disruption of China ’s markets and the imposition of the brutal terms of trade.  The British Empire’s armed presence dictated what China imported (with opium accounting for over 50% of British exports in the 1850s) while undermining China ’s competitive advantages via tariff policies.

Today the US is pursuing similar policies:  US naval fleet  patrols and controls China ’s commercial shipping lanes and off-shore oil resources via its overseas bases.  The Obama-Clinton White House is in the process of developing a rapid military response involving bases in Australia , Philippines and elsewhere in Asia .  The US is intensifying  its efforts to undermine Chinese overseas access to strategic resources while backing ‘grass roots’ separatists and ‘insurgents’ in West China, Tibet, Sudan, Burma, Iran, Libya, Syria and elsewhere.  The US military agreements with India and  the installation of a pliable puppet regime in Pakistan have advanced its strategy of isolating China .  While China upholds its policy of “harmonious development” and “non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries”, it has stepped aside as US and European military imperialism have attacked a host of China’s trading partners to essentially reverse China’s  peaceful commercial expansion.

China’s lack of a political and ideological strategy capable of protecting its overseas economic interests has been an invitation for the US and NATO to set-up regimes hostile to China .  The most striking example is Libya where US and NATO intervened to overthrow an independent government led by President Gadhafi, with whom China had signed multi-billion dollar trade and investments agreements. The NATO bombardment of Libyan cities, ports and oil installation forced the Chinese to withdraw 35,000 Chinese oil engineers and construction workers in a matter of days.  The same thing happened in Sudan where China had invested billions to develop its oil industry.  The US, Israel and Europe armed the South Sudanese rebels to disrupt the flow of oil and attack Chinese oil workers[6].  In both cases China passively allowed the US and European military imperialists to attack its trade partners and undermine its investments.

Under Mao Tse Tung, China had an active policy countering imperial aggression:  It supported revolutionary movements and independent Third World governments.  Today’s capitalist China does not have an active policy of supporting governments or movements capable of protecting China ’s bilateral trade and investment agreements.  China ’s inability to confront the rising tide of US   military aggression against its economic interests, is due to deep structural problems.  China’s foreign policy is shaped by big commercial, financial and manufacturing interests who rely on their ‘economic competitive edge’ to gain market shares and have no understanding of the military and security underpinnings of global economic power.  China ’s political class is deeply influenced by a new class of billionaires with strong ties to Western equity funds and who have uncritically absorbed Western cultural values. This is illustrated by their preference for sending their own children to elite universities in the US and Europe .  They seek “accommodation with the West” at any price.

This lack of any strategic understanding of military empire-building has led them to respond ineffectively and ad hoc to each imperialist action undermining their access to resources and markets.  While China ’s “business first” outlook may have worked when it was a minor player in the world economy and US empire builders saw  the “capitalist opening” as a chance to easily takeover China ’s public enterprises and pillage the economy.  However, when China (in contrast to the former USSR) decided to retain capital controls and develop a carefully calibrated, state directed “industrial policy”  directing western capital and the transfer of technology to state enterprises, which effectively penetrated the US domestic and overseas markets, Washington began to complain and talked of retaliation.

China ’s huge trade surpluses with the US provoked a dual response in Washington :  It sold massive quantities of US Treasury bonds to the Chinese and began to develop a global strategy to block China ’s advance. Since the US lacked economic leverage to reverse its decline, it relied on its only “comparative advantage” – its military superiority based on a world wide  system of attack bases,  a network of overseas client regimes, military proxies, NGO’ers, intellectuals and armed mercenaries.  Washington turned to its vast overt and clandestine security apparatus to undermine China ’s trading partners.  Washington depends on its long-standing ties with corrupt rulers, dissidents, journalists and media moguls to provide the powerful propaganda cover while advancing its military offensive against China ’s overseas interests.

China has nothing to compare with the US overseas ‘security apparatus’ because it practices a policy of “non-interference”.  Given the advanced state of the Western imperial offensive, China has taken only a few diplomatic initiatives, such as financing English language media outlets to present its perspective, using its veto power on the UN Security Council to oppose US efforts to overthrow the independent Assad regime in Syria and opposing the imposition of drastic sanctions against Iran .  It sternly repudiated US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s vitriolic questioning of the ‘legitimacy’ of the Chinese state when it voted against the US-UN resolution  preparing  an attack on Syria[7].

Chinese military strategists are more aware and alarmed at the growing military threat to China .  They have successfully demanded a 19% annual increase in military spending over the next five years (2011-2015)[8].  Even with this increase, China’s military expenditures will still be less than one-fifth of the US military budget and China has not one overseas military base in stark contrast to the over 750 US installations abroad.  Overseas Chinese intelligence operations are minimal and ineffective.  Its embassies are run by and for narrow commercial interests who utterly failed to understand NATO’s brutal policy of regime change in Libya and inform Beijing of its significance to the Chinese state.

There are two other structural weaknesses undermining China ’s rise as a world power. This includes the highly ‘Westernized’ intelligentsia which has uncritically swallowed US economic doctrine about free markets while ignoring its militarized economy.  These Chinese intellectuals parrot the US propaganda about the ‘democratic virtues’ of billion-dollar Presidential campaigns, while supporting financial deregulation which would have led to a Wall Street takeover of Chinese banks and savings.  Many Chinese business consultants and academics have been educated in the US and influenced by their ties to US academics and international financial institutions directly linked to Wall Street and the City of London .  They have prospered as highly-paid consultants receiving prestigious positions in Chinese institutions.  They identify the ‘liberalization of financial markets’ with “advanced economies” capable of deepening ties to global markets instead of as a major source of the current global financial crisis.  These “Westernized intellectuals” are like their 19th century comprador counterparts who underestimated and dismissed the long-term consequences of Western imperial penetration.  They fail to understand how financial deregulation in the US precipitated the current crisis and how deregulation would lead to a Western takeover of China ’s financial system- the consequences of which would reallocate China ’s domestic savings to non-productive activities (real estate speculation), precipitate financial crisis and ultimately undermine China ’s leading global position.

These Chinese yuppies imitate the worst of Western consumerist life styles and their political outlooks are driven by these life styles and Westernized identities which preclude any sense of solidarity with their own working class.

There is an economic basis for the pro-Western sentiments of China ’s neo-compradors.  They have transferred billions of dollars to foreign bank accounts, purchased luxury homes and apartments in London , Toronto , Los Angeles , Manhattan , Paris , Hong Kong and Singapore . They have one foot in China (the source of their wealth) and the other in the West (where they consume and hide their wealth).

Westernized compradores are deeply embedded in China ’s economic system having family ties with the political leadership in the party apparatus and the state. Their connections are weakest in the military and in the growing social movements, although some “dissident” students and academic activists in the “democracy movements” are backed by Western imperial NGO’s.  To the extent that the compradors gain influence, they weaken the strong economic state institutions which have directed China ’s ascent to global power, just as they did in the 19th century by acting as intermediaries for the British Empire .  Proclaiming 19th Century “liberalism” British opium addicted over 50 million Chinese in less than a decade.  Proclaiming “democracy and human rights” US gunboats now patrol off China ’s coast.  China ’s elite-directed rise to global economic power has spawned monumental inequalities between the thousands of new billionaires and multi-millionaires at the top and hundreds of millions of impoverished workers, peasants and migrant workers at the bottom.

China ’s rapid accumulation of wealth and capital was made possible through the intense exploitation of its workers who were stripped of their previous social safety net and regulated work conditions guaranteed under Communism.  Millions of Chinese households are being dispossessed in order to promote real estate developer/speculators who then build high rise offices and the luxury apartments for the domestic and foreign elite.  These brutal features of ascendant Chinese capitalism have created a fusion of workplace and living space mass struggle which is growing every year.  The developer/speculators’ slogan  “to get rich is wonderful” has lost its power to deceive the people.  In 2011 there were over 200,000 popular encompassing urban coastal factories and rural villages.  The next step, which is sure to come, will be the unification of these struggles into  new national social movements with a class-based agenda demanding the restoration of health and educational services enjoyed under the Communists as well as a greater share of China’s wealth. Current demands for greater wages can turn to demands for greater work place democracy.  To answer these popular demands China ’s new compradore-Westernized liberals cannot point to their ‘model’ in the US empire where American workers are in the process of being stripped of the very benefits Chinese workers are struggling to regain.

China , torn by deepening class and political conflict, cannot sustain its drive toward global economic leadership.  China ’s elite cannot confront the rising global imperial military threat from the US with its comprador allies among the internal liberal elite while the country is  a deeply divided society with an increasingly hostile working class.  The time of unbridled exploitation of China ’s labor has to end in order to face the US military encirclement of China and economic disruption of its overseas markets.  China possesses enormous resources.  With over $1.5 trillion dollars in reserves China can finance a comprehensive national health and educational program throughout the country.

China can afford to pursue an intensive ‘public housing program’ for the 250 million migrant workers currently living in urban squalor.  China can impose a system of progressive income taxes on its new billionaires and millionaires and finance small family farmer co-operatives and rural industries to rebalance the economy.  Their program of developing alternative energy sources, such as solar panels and wind farms – are a promising start to addressing their serious environmental pollution.  Degradation of the environment and related health issues already engage the concern of tens of millions.  Ultimately China ’s best defense against imperial encroachments is a stable regime based on social justice for the hundreds of millions and a foreign policy of supporting overseas anti-imperialist movements and regimes – whose independence are in China ’s vital interest.  What is needed is a pro-active policy based on mutually beneficial joint ventures including military and diplomatic solidarity.  Already a small, but influential, group of Chinese intellectuals have raised the issue of the growing US military threat and are “saying no to gunboat diplomacy”.[9]

Modern China has plenty of resources and opportunities, unavailable to China in the 19th century when it was subjugated by the British Empire . If the US continues to escalate its aggressive militaristic policy against China , Beijing can set off a serious fiscal crisis by dumping a few of its hundreds of billions of dollars in US Treasury notes.  China , a nuclear power should reach out to its similarly armed and threatened neighbor, Russia , to confront and confound the bellicose rantings of US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.  Russian President-to-be Putin vows to increase military spending from 3% to 6% of the GDP over the next decade to counter Washington’s offensive missile bases on Russia’s borders and thwart Obama’s ‘regime change’ programs against its allies, like Syria[10].

China has powerful trading, financial and investment networks covering the globe as well as powerful economic partners .These links have become essential for the continued growth of many of countries throughout the developing world.  In taking on China , the US will have to face the opposition of many powerful market-based elites throughout the world.  Few countries or elites see any future in tying their fortunes to an economically unstable empire-based on militarism and destructive colonial occupations.

In other words, modern China , as a world power, is incomparably stronger than it was in early 18th century.  The US does not have the colonial leverage that the ascendant British Empire possessed in the run-up to the Opium Wars.  Moreover, many Chinese intellectuals and the vast majority of its citizens have no intention of letting its current “Westernized compradors” sell out the country.  Nothing would accelerate political polarization in Chinese society and hasten the coming of a second Chinese social revolution more than a timid leadership submitting to a new era of Western imperial pillage.

Notes

[1] John Hobson, The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization ( Cambridge UK :  Cambridge University Press 2004)
[2] Ibid, Ch. 9 pp. 190 -218
[3] Ibid, Ch. 11, pp. 244-248
[4] Richard Gott, Britain’s Empire:  Resistance, Repression and Revolt ( London : Verso 2011) for a detailed historical chronicle of the savagery accompanying Britain ’s colonial empire.
[5] Hobson, pp. 253 – 256.
[6] Katrina Manson, “South Sudan puts Beijing ’s policies to the test”, Financial Times, 2/21/12, p. 5.
[7] Interview of Clinton NPR, 2/26/12.
[8] La Jornada, 2/15/12 ( Mexico City ).
[9]  China Daily (2/20/2012)
[10]Charles Clover, ‘Putin vows huge boost in defense spending’, Financial Times, 2/12/2012

The Guardian View on Saudi Arabia: The Seventh Son Rises

19-09-2017 | 13:50

A crackdown on dissent by the youngest heir apparent in Saudi history will not help the desert kingdom find a way out of an economic mess at home and misguided entanglements abroad

MBS

The ascension in June of Muhammed bin Salman as crown prince of Saudi Arabia was an instant Rorschach test for observers of the desert kingdom. Is he a reformer prepared to drag his kingdom, a repressive regime that writes very large welfare cheques, into the 21st century or a callow princeling whose rise to power could destabilize the region? The 31-year-old prince has undoubtedly amassed great power and dominates Saudi economic, diplomatic and domestic policy.

The crown prince, known as MBS, is also the architect of the bloody quagmire of the Yemen war and a hardliner in the current Gulf row with neighboring Qatar. His father, King Salman, 81, is not in good health, walks with a stick and suffers from brain fades in meetings. By anointing his seventh son as the youngest heir apparent in Saudi history, the ailing monarch has signaled a decisive break with the past.

If the first few months are a reliable guide, then the omens for the future are not good. The palace coup that saw MBS take power was bloodless. In the summer’s Game of Thrones, his powerful uncles and rivals were either sidelined or placed under house arrest. The sense of how riven the Saudi royal house is could be gleaned from reports, sourced from within the court, claiming the other leading contender for the throne had a drug problem. Last week it emerged that Saudi authorities had launched a crackdown on dissent, targeting Islamic thinkers, public critics and political rivals.

Two prominent clerics were taken away for failing to publicly declare their support for the crown prince’s stance toward Qatar.

Both are popular with the Saudi public, with millions of Twitter followers. Another journalist has been banned from writing opinion columns, while human rights activists have been given outlandish eight-year prison sentences for peaceful campaigning. Whatever MBS’s public face, this intolerance of dissent is almost paranoid.

If there was time for Saudi society to debate how to proceed, it’s probably now. Saudi Arabia was the cradle of [extremism] so its stability is a global concern. In domestic terms, Saudi Arabia is a mess.

The kingdom is the world’s largest oil exporter, with reserves of 260bn barrels – but it is a one-trick economy. Oil prices have plummeted from the highs of 2014, forcing Riyadh to spend some $200bn from its foreign exchange reserves to cover its deficit.

In response the crown prince instigated a Thatcherite program of privatization and subsidy cuts to balance the books. But these moves threatened the social contract between the royal family and its subjects, the majority of whom are under 35.
On the world stage, Saudi Arabia has been forced on the back foot by events and its own incompetence.

The war in Yemen, costly in civilian lives, and a blockade of Qatar are a result of draining infatuations.

Instead of succeeding, those obsessions have been embarrassments for the crown prince. Riyadh is now courting Iraq’s leadership – especially those close to Iran. It has withdrawn from Syria, leaving that country’s future in the hands of Moscow, Ankara and Tehran.

Source: The Guardian, Edited by website team

Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?

Photo by Garry Knight | CC BY 2.0

To state the obvious: two weeks can be a long time in western electoral politics.

The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has been gaining steadily in the opinion polls, despite a massive media campaign to undermine him, extending from the BBC and the supposedly “liberal” Guardian to the UK’s famously ghastly tabloids. When Theresa May called the election, Labour was 20 or more points behind the Conservatives, but this figure was down to as little as 5 points in some polls conducted before the Manchester bombing atrocity occurred.

The policies put forward in Labour’s manifesto are popular (especially when they are not identified as Labour’s!), Corbyn has been an effective campaigner, but Labour has also been aided by a woefully inept Tory campaign.  The Tory spin doctors and election strategists somehow convinced themselves that the largely untried Theresa May was their trump card, so much so that only her name (accompanied by the vacuous slogan “strong and stable”), and not her party affiliation, featured on their election propaganda.

While the hunch behind this decision of the election strategists was probably the marketing of May as a Thatcher Mark II, she has been a disaster so far.  A stodgy performer in debate, famously unable to think on her feet, May refused to take part in televised debates.  Her few attempts at “connecting with the public” have seen the wheels come off the proverbial car.

She scuttled off rapidly when booed on a visit to a social-housing estate in Bristol– people living in social housing have been under an unrelenting cosh since Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, and only someone in a fantasy conjured-up by Lewis Carroll would envisage a Tory leader being greeted with warmth and affection on a visit to such an estate.  Someone on May’s support team needs to be sent forthwith to a dungeon in the Tower of London for this Carrollian mishap.

Another walk-about in Abingdon (Oxfordshire), potentially less hostile territory, saw May confronted by a voter with learning disabilities visibly upset at having her disability benefit cut by the Tories.  The easily flustered May, seemingly unable to distinguish between learning disabilities and mental health issues, sought desperately to reassure the distressed voter that the Tories had a bunch of new initiatives on the latter.  The massed TV cameras recorded the entire episode, and May became an immediate object of derision.  She retired to her bunker at Tory HQ, and has not been seen in public since.

May’s two one-on-one television interviews have likewise been a disaster.  UK TV interviewers, even those not known for their leftist inclinations, are a much less calmative bunch than their American counterparts (the Orange Swindler would not last 60 seconds with the routinely ill-disposed and aggressive Jeremy Paxman), and May suffered her predictable meltdown.  The sight of her waffling and prevaricating when interviewed by Andrew Marr and Andrew Neil while trying to pull-out her “strong and steady” soundbite as often as possible, was utterly delicious to behold.

So, what’s next for the maladroit May?  TV debates are out, and so it would seem are walk-abouts and one-on-one interviews.  The halt to campaigning observed by all parties after the Manchester carnage has given her some breathing space, but it is hard to see what can be improvised by her handlers.

Theresa May apart, the Tory manifesto has also been a hostage to misfortune.  A grab-bag of vague promises and uncosted policies, it soon suffered from media scrutiny.  The manifesto, and the accompanying vapid sloganeering, are thinly disguised attempts to deflect attention from the one big issue the Tories can’t campaign on and must therefore keep out of public view, namely, the cruel and irresponsible austerity policy they have pursued since 2010.  In parliament, May has voted for every legislative item underpinning this policy, despite touting herself as a “compassionate Conservative”.  Here in the manifesto we are told: “We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality”.  They could have fooled me, and perhaps this was the Tory intention.

Paraded as “fiscal prudence”, Tory austerity has been quite the opposite.

The UK economy has grown since 2010, but, according to the Guardian, 7.4 million Brits, among them 2.6 million children, live in poverty despite being from working families (amounting to 55% of these deemed poor) – an increase of 1.1 million since 2010-2011 (i.e. the first year of austerity).

The report discussed by the Guardian, produced by the reputable Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), shows that the number living below the Minimum Income Standard – the earnings, defined by the public, required for a decent standard of living – rose from 15 million to 19 million between 2008/9 and 2014/5.  The UK’s population is 65 million.

These 19 million people, or just under 1/3rd of the UK’s population, are its “just about managing” families (JAMs).

An important contributory factor in these shifts, the JRF said, was the increased number of people living in basically unaffordable private rental properties, with the number of people in poverty in private rentals doubling in a decade to 4.5 million.

“Failures in the housing market are a significant driver of poverty,” the JRF study said. “This is primarily, but not entirely, due to costs.”

The number of rental evictions has risen by 60% over 5 years to 37,000 annually.   Over the same period mortgage repossessions have fallen from 23,000 to 3,300.

According to an article by Frances Ryan in the Guardian:

For a government to cut in-work social security, reduce child tax credits and freeze working-age benefits in this climate is the equivalent of knowingly removing the life rafts from the millions of citizens who are struggling to stay afloat. Drowning comes in many forms: perhaps eviction notices or hungry children. The Children’s Society says that by 2020, when all the new tax and benefits changes will have been implemented, low-income families making a new claim for support could be up to £9,000 worse off a year. The government’s four-year freeze on working age benefits alone will make four million families poorer.

Social care has become increasingly unaffordable for these struggling families, the NHS is starting to charge for treatment as it undergoes a stealth privatization, they have fewer opportunities for upskilling in order to raise their incomes, and so on.  This while their wages are stagnant even as the cost of living is increasing for them.

“Austerity” always was a hoax attempting to magic the banking-induced crisis of 2007-2009 into a crisis of the welfare system.

It has nothing to do with the “deficit”— if it did, Cameron and Osborne would have serious steps to reduce the “deficit”, instead they chose policies that increased it.

And indeed, UK public sector debt has risen since 2010–  according to the Office of National Statistics, from 60% of GDP in January 2010 to 85.3% in January 2017.

The Tories and their banker pals are determined to make ordinary UK citizens pay for the bankers’ mistakes with reduced wages and pensions, reduced health care, reduced education opportunities, reduced real employment (job “growth” is largely confined to “bullshit” jobs or McJobs), and reduced social services.

Their public position is that ordinary UK citizens are “living beyond their means”, thereby using this as a subterfuge to get the ordinary citizen to pay for the bankers’ fecklessness and criminality.

So far, no politician from any party has stood up and said it is the stock-portfolio class, and not ordinary Ukanians, who live beyond the Ukay’s means!

With the ideological dragooning supplied in endless doses by the rightwing tabloids, the “slackers” and “scroungers” always seem to be the not so well-off or totally indigent, as opposed to predatory bankers and avaricious landlords.  The former tend not to vote under the present electoral system because nothing really changes for them come election-time, while the latter make a point of donating generously to the Tories in order to safeguard their gravy trains.

Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina.  He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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NATO at war and other statistical marvels

NATO at war and other statistical marvels

by Scott Humor

NATO Parliamentary Assembly Spring Session, Tbilisi, 26-29 May 2017

“The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi is a historic and a strategic place in the Caucasus region, which gave the country an opportunity to be a connecting hub between the West and the East

Unfortunately, our progress is not a pleasant development in the region for some, like the Russian Federation. Moscow has militarily violated Georgia’s territorial sovereignty and has illegally occupied the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russian military aggression and its provocations in various forms towards its neighbours have become routine by the Kremlin. Economic sanctions by the European Union and its partners are imperative to slow down this aggression, but more needs to be done. Therefore, it is crucial that we have a visible progress on both the practical and political side of Georgia’s EU and NATO membership process.

Furthermore, we highly value the Allies’ commitment to ensure effective implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, as well as new initiatives of practical cooperation. We welcome the decision made at the Warsaw Summit to increase NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region and at the same time to further strengthen cooperation with Georgia.

Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare our country for eventual membership. As the Bucharest Summit Declaration states: Georgia will become a member of NATO.”

It’s truly haunting how NATO uses a blunt lie going on record, even so we can just take one look at the online records of the UN Security Council and read that it Georgia initiated the war on 08.08.08.

Security Council hears conflicting Russian, Georgian views of worsening crisis as members seek end to violence in day’s second meeting on South Ossetia

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said Georgia continued its treacherous attack on South Ossetia, despite the Russian leadership’s appeal for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the fratricidal conflict and the resumption of talks.  The Russian Federation abhorred the connivance of a number of Security Council members, who last night had blocked passage of the Russian assessment of the situation.  The aggression being perpetrated was in violation of the United Nations Charter on the non-use of force, the 1996 agreement signed by Georgia, the South Ossetia parties and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the 1992 basic agreement between the Russian Federation and Georgia on the principles for settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.  That agreement obliged the belligerents to undertake measures to halt military confrontation, to cease fire and to withdraw armed units.  A demilitarized zone had been created under the accord and the 1996 memorandum of understanding, compelling parties to the conflict to renounce the use or threat of use of force, had been signed by the High Representative of Georgia and the OSCE representative.  More here

United Nations Security Council Resolution 896 of 1994

 

On April 1st this year, William Lahue, NATO liaison officer in South Caucasus stated that NATO will not fight with Russia over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, if Georgia joins the alliance.

This statement is bizarre and deceiving considering that right now NATO is in active state of war with Russia according to its website:

NATO – Topic: Collective defence – Article 5

www.nato.int/cps/cn/natohq/topics_110496.htm

Mar 22, 2017

  • NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
  • NATO has standing forces on active duty

So, NATO has already invoked the Article 5 Collective defense treaty and is in a state of active war on Russia.

This current land grab is similar to what the fascist Europe was doing right before they started a war on the Soviet Russia in 1941.

Needless to say that Georgia joining NATO is against NATO’s own rules pertinent to  countries with territorial disputes. Since NATO is ready to deploy its army to Georgian territory, it means that the NATO has suspended its rules, which is another indicator that the NATO members are currently in active state of war against Russia.

—-

For those our readers who collect psi-ops and false flag attacks, here is the strategy that is been used repeatedly to draw Russia into the armed conflict on its borders.

A government of one  of the republics starts terribly abusing a part of population living under its rule. This population rebels and demands autonomy, propelling the government’s brutally attacks by punitive forces. The population under the attack fighting back and holds a referendum for independence. The government uses the regular army to attack the population, which asks Russia for help.

Thus in November 2006, a popular referendum was held in South Ossetia to reaffirm its independence from Georgia.  Ninety-nine percent of voters supported the referendum. After two years of punitive actions, Saakashvili, the US appointed puppet, initiated the war by attacking civilian population and the Russian peacekeepers. Putin as a prime minister was away visiting China, so President Medevedev and its liberal parliament respond with the use of the military force.

In 2914, when NATO members played the same situation in Ukraine like a piano, an “international community” fully expected Russia to do as she did in 2008. But with Putin as a president it didn’t work out for them.

————-

A country with 77% of its population with missing teeth is looking for financial support.

Latvian MP and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jānis Jurkāns gave an interview to the newspaper Neatkarīgā on May 15 of this year. He said that a war on Russia is expected to start any minute, and that’s why Latvian government doesn’t invest anything into the country’s development. It’s all going to be destroyed any way.  “What’s not stolen, will be crashed by the Russian tanks.”

Reportedly he also said that soon Russia will be completely destroyed, and only then a real economic revival in Latvia will take place.

In conclusion he said, that when, in the future, Russia will be crushed into pieces, they as victims will receive huge amount of money to build the brand new Latvia. That is why they are removing what’s left of the country’s wealth and creating in Ireland a base for a government in exile.

——

What actually are the Trump’s deals with the Saudi Arabia?

Looking at the list of deals that the US managed to achieve with the SA, most of them being just pledges and promises.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon express a desire to establish Raytheon Arabia sometime in the future. General Dynamics will do some design, and support some of its vehicles locally. Let me guess, the locals will be allowed to design and manufacture some stickers in Arabic. General Electrics signed MoU, Honeywell International signed a MoU, McDermott International also signed an MoU. Boeing and SaudiGulf Airlines promised to start negotiations of jet purchases. Saudi Aramco updates MoU. Jacobs Engineering Group, Rowan, Saudi Aramco, Nabors, Weatherford International all signed MOUs.

Similar to a contract, a memorandum of understanding is an agreement between two or more parties. Unlike a contract, however, an MoU need not contain legally enforceable promises. While the parties to a contract must intend to create a legally binding agreement, the parties to an MOU may intend otherwise

Not one actually legally binding contract was signed.

==============

In April, industrial production in Ukraine decreased by 6.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

From January to April of 2017 industrial production fell by 2%.

Industrial production is falling for the third month in a row. The main factor of the collapse of metallurgical industry that in April 2017 has reduced steel production by 28.6% compared to April of 2016, to 1,572 million tons.

The export of steel is the main source of foreign income for the country.

With the disappearance of metallurgy, Ukraine will finally become an agricultural powerhouse producing only wheat and corn; since the value added in agriculture is not high and considering the dependency on foreign (Russian) fertilizers, the country won’t be able to sustain its population for much longer.

Despite this, GDP is growing. The gross domestic product of Ukraine for the first quarter increased by 3 percent according to the national Bank of Ukraine.

Industrial production fell, exports fell. The GDP is growing

The explanation is simple.

The price of steel has risen over the past year with $220 per ton of steel to $320, and even it has already dropped to $275; still the Ukraine is in the black, especially compared with the middle of 2016, when steel cost $115 per ton.

====================================

Green Spring of 2017

Russia’s economy grew in April 2017 compared to the same period of 2016.

Most the basic economic and social indicators went up with GDP rising to 100.5% of last year’s value.

Total agricultural output grew 100.6%. Industrial Production Index grew 102.3%. The volume of transported cargo grew by 109.4%. Retail trade numbers have not changed at 100% of April 2016. Combined foreign trade grew by 129.8%, with the export growing by 135.2% and import growing by 121.8%. Capital investments grew by 102.3%. Absolute income and real-wage growth grew by 106.7%, however real income fell to 92.4%. Since the inflation went down, this could be a result of the drop in real estate and rental prices. Unemployment rate fell to 5.3%. Officially registered as unemployed are 0.9 million people. In total 4 million people are unemployed.

With unemployment going down, wages grew +3.2% by March of 2017 year to year.

Real wages in Russia

Real Income In Russia

With all major indexes in green, the only unexplained drop is in real income which is down for March by significant -7.6%. Considering that at the beginning of the year the same indicator grew almost 7%, this number will probably be revised. However, it still might remain negative.

On May 14, during the meeting with President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, the following was said:

Vladimir Putin: In the economic sector, despite the previous years’ recession, trade turnover growth of over 44 percent was observed in the beginning of this year. This is a good sign and a good trend we have to preserve.

Milos Zeman: The number of tourists is growing – this is very positive.

Vladimir Putin: This is connected to the gradual restoration of personal incomes, which shrank during the crisis in our country. Today, actual earnings of our citizens have started to gradually increase, and tourist activity is increasing as well.

It’s also interesting how the government handled the crisis of 2008-2009 and crisis of 2014-2016. During the first crisis, the minimum wage went up, but unemployment and bankruptcies also grew. It took two years to recover to the pre-crisis level. In December 18, 2014, president Putin said that the crisis in Russia will last for two years in the worst case. Understanding that this might be the long-term situation, the government did everything to preserve the workplaces by letting wages to drop. Putin has managed to save work places, industries and manufacturers from repeating a terrible collapse of 2009 that Medvedev’s government allowed. Considering that everything stayed and worked, the recovery is ongoing, and it won’t need two years.

In February of this year, an aftershock contributor posted his overview of the economy using other indicators than unreliable GPD and came to the conclusion that Russia’s economy is number 4 in the world.

He started with asking a simple question: how can Russia afford the space exploration and nuclear energy, that are out of reach for the majority of developed and rich countries? In addition to the enormous infrastructure costs, these industries require a high level of development of education, basic science, applied science and multiple industries. When we witness another successful launch of missiles “YARS” and the start of commercial operation of the BN nuclear reactors, a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor, most people don’t understand that these facts are only the visible tip of the iceberg of a great country.

—–

In November 2016 one of UK’s  fake news sources called The Telegraph reporting on the alcohol consumption in the world and lied about Russia being number four of the alcohol dependent countries, and the Britain being 25th overall. “On average we each consume 11.6 litres of pure alcohol a year.”

Now let’s look at real numbers presented by the Russia’s Health Ministry.

Alcohol consumption in Russia in liters of pure spirit in 2016 was 10.3 liters per person. However, this is actual numbers of official sales and doesn’t include homemade wines traditionally enjoyed in the South of the country. I couldn’t find a reliable statistic of alcohol consumption based on gender, race, and age, but as an anecdotal evidence of generational differences, my parents have some wine or cognac for dinner almost every day, although they don’t drink vodka or beer. On average, I consume one glass of wine per year. I just don’t understand an appeal of alcohol.

 

============

Links to report of the Russia’s Health ministry statistic will take you to a downloadable PDF file with multiple fascinating charts:

In 2016 the death rate in Russia has been at its lowest since 1995 12.9 per 1000 of population.

Life expectancy has been also the highest since 1995 and reaches 77.1 for women, 66.5 for men, with an average 71.9 for both genders.

In 2016 Maternal Mortality Rate was 8.3 per 100,000 live births. It actually dropped 48.8% compared to 2011, and 17.8% compared to 2015.

In 2012 Russia adopted the international standards for Infant Mortality Rate statistic starting with 500g or 22 weeks. In 2012 there were 6 infant death per 1000 live birth.

Cardio related death rate dropped down to 42.2 per 100,000 population, which is 7.3% less than in 2011.

Stroke and high-blood pressure related death dropped down to 85.6 per 100,000 population, which is 34.2% lower than in 2011.

Stroke death could be avoided simply by cutting down the consumption of large amounts of salt and sugar typically found in a traditional Russian diet. For years I have been trying to make my parents to eat healthier and to stop cooking with these additives, which proved to me that some battles I just can’t win.

Motor vehicle related deaths also went down to 10.8 per 100,000 population, which is a drop of 11.5% compared with 2015.

================

Demographic losses of Germany in World War II

Thought provoking material related to estimation of the losses of German population in WWII.

Before the war against the Soviet Union, Germany was actively absorbing new territories with their population. Therefore, many demographic curves that are being used to estimate the German losses are not correct.

 

The population of Germany itself in 1939 was about 69,4 million.

To this we have to add +

Saarland (0.8 million people),

Austria ( 6,76 million)

The Sudetenland ( 3,64 million)

Total 80,6 million

Also in June 1941 Germany added

Danzig and Memel (0,54 million)

Poznan and Upper Silesia (9,63 million)

Luxembourg, Lorraine and Alsace ( 2.2 million people)

Also severed from Yugoslavia southern Carinthia. (0.2 million people)

PLus the natural population growth over these 2 years per 80 million peoples

Total in June 1941 Germany began the war with  94 million people.

The author estimates that in May of 1945, Germany had less than 60 million people left.

On October 29, 1946, the Command of the Western Military group estimated the population of Germany, all three of its parts with the Western Berlin, was 65,931,000. It means that in 16 months 6 million in population increase was due to the migrants coming from the Sudetenland, Poland, and Kalingrad, and also POWs returned from captivity on the Western front. From the Easter front and the Soviet Union the last POWs had returned to Germany in 1949, which also contributed to the population growth. Let’s say that in the middle of 1046, Germany had 66 million people. At the beginning of 1941 Germany had 94 million people. This means that the demographic losses in Germany amounted to 28 million+ 2-3 million that would constitute the natural population growth during this time if the war didn’t take place.

A total loss of population was 30-31 million, or 30% of the population.

Demographic losses of the Soviet population was 40 million, or 20% of the entire population.

 

The biggest comparative losses of WWII were sustained by Poland

From 1939 to 1945, the population of Poland shrank from 35 million to 23.9 million plus 3 million of natural growth. If the WWII didn’t happen Poland would have in 1945 larger population than it has now.

However, most of those people who died weren’t ethnically Polish. In 1939, on the territory that Poland claimed as its own in 1945 lived 24.6 million people including Jews, Germans, Lithuanians, Byelorussians and Ukrainians. Under the guise of war, those territories were ethnically cleansed by the Poles to achieve 98% of ethnic purity. The Poles themselves lost three million people due to the war.

At the same time, Britain did not suffer any significant demographic losses. By facilitating and financing the WWII, Britain bled Germany (30 m), Poland (15), and the Soviet Union (40m) and together with other European countries (15m), reduced the population of continental Europe by 100 million people. Same time Britain bled India (2.1m) in Bengal famine of 1943 and China (80m).

====================================

Finland has reached its demographic cross.

In 2016, a total of 53,923 persons died, which is the largest number since 1944. The previous record year after the 1940s was 2015, from which the number of deaths now grew by another 1,431. Altogether, 501 more women and 930 more men died than in 2015.

According to Statistics Finland’s data on population changes, 52,814 children were born in 2016. The number of births has now decreased for the sixth year in succession. The number of births was 2,658 children, i.e. 4.8 per cent fewer than in 2015. This yearly decrease is the highest since the beginning of the 1970s, when measured in relative terms.

With 5.5 million population, even

Even 329,219 emigrants are not able to change this. Finland will never have a natural growth of its population.

 

======================

In 2016 Ukraine had the least number of vaccinated children at 23%.

 

Scott Humor

غزوة البقرة الحلوب وأسرار الأرقام .. من الذي دفع الجزية لترامب؟؟

نارام سرجون

عندما تتكلم الأرقام تسكت الحروف الهجائية .. ويسكت المشعوذون والدجالون .. ويسكت الفقهاء وعلماء الفتوى

فالأرقام ليست مثل الحروف حمالة أوجه .. بل هي حاسمة قاطعة .. وقد لفت نظر جميع من تابع الصفقة الاميريكة السعودية أن أرقامها تفوق الخيال .. حتى الأميريكون فاجأتهم غزوة البقرة الحلوب كما فاجأ تهاون السادات وقبوله السريع بشروط اتفاقية السلام الوفد الاسرائيلي بقيادة مناحيم بيغين .. ولابأس أمام هذا النصر لترامب في غزوة البقرة الحلوب من ان نستعين هنا بمصطلح..أم المعارك .. وبدلا من تسمية صفقة سلمان وترامب بغزوة البقرة الحلوب يمكن ان نقول بارتياح أنها “معركة أم الأبقار” ..

وبالعودة الى الرقم الفلكي للصفقة السعودية نجد أنها أخذت صفة الرشوة للتخفيف والتغطية على الوصف الحقيقي لها لأنها جزية في الحقيقة دفعها “ملك المسلمين لهرقل ملك الروم” لأول مرة منذ معركة اليرموك .. وقيمة هذه الجزية عمليا تفوق مجموع كل الجزيات التي جمعها المسلمون من الديار التي فتحوها في كل تاريخهم ..

ولكن الصدمة لاتتوقف هنا .. فالأرقام تشير الى حقيقة أن من دفع المال ليس الأمراء ولاالأسرة المالكة السعودية .. فلم تكلف هذه الصفقة أي أمير وأي فرد من الأسرة المالكة ريالا واحدا .. بل تم جمع هذه الجزية من شعب نجد والحجاز (الذي يسمونه الشعب السعودي) بالمليم والريال .. فقد اشاعت الاسرة المالكة منذ أشهر أن البلاد تمر بعجز مالي وانها مقبلة على الافلاس وأنها تقترض و تشد الأحزمة على البطون وتخفض الرواتب والعلاوات والأجور ووو ..

وكان وزير المالية السعودي منذ أشهر يقول بمرارة وصراحة ملفتة للنظر بأن على المواطن السعودي الذي اعتاد السكن في دار كبيرة أن ينسى هذه الرفاهية وأن يسكن في دار صغيرة وأن من اعتاد ركوب سيارات فارهة أن يبحث عن سيارات التوفير الاقتصادي ..

وتبين أن كل هذه الحملة الدعائية والتهويل من الافلاس لتبرير سحب الأموال والاقتطاعات لم تكن لانقاذ الاقتصاد السعودي بل لتقديم جزية هائلة للأميريكيين دفعها كل المواطنين .. ويجب أن تسمى “أم الجزيات” .. وصار كل ريال يوفره المواطن في المملكة يعرف أنه (جزية ترامب) تماما كما عرفت اوروبا ماكان يعرف بـ (عشر صلاح الدين) وهو الضريبة التي فرضها البابا على الأوروبيين لتمويل حروب الصليبيين لاسترداد القدس بعد تحريرها ..

مايلفت النظر هو تطابق تقديرات العجز السعودي مع مبلغ الصفقة الرهيبة .. مما لايدع مجالا للشك أن الشعب وحده هو الي دفع الجزية وأن القصر الملكي كان يحضر لهذه الصفقة ليسددها الشعب من لحمه ورفاهيته .. وأبقى الأمراء أموالهم بالحفظ والصون .. والكارثة أن هذا أول الغيث وهذه أول الجزيات .. فكل رئيس سيحدد رقم جزيته .. وكل جزية ستبز ماقبلها ..

عندما تسقط هذه المملكة يوما سينبش الشعب كل الأسرار ويكتشف أنه لم يسبقه في التاريخ شعب تمت سرقته بها الشكل الأسطوري الذي لم تحك عنه الحكايا .. وحده التاريخ سيحكي عن العرب الحكايا ..

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Al-Saud’s Only Gamble Option

May 22, 2017

by Ghassan Kadi

A lot has been said and speculated on about the “real” objectives of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Seasoned veteran British journalist/analyst and Middle East expert Robert Fisk sees it as an attempt to create a Sunni-style NATO to curb the Iranian expansion, and his speculation is on the money, but in realistic terms, what can this visit and its “aftermath” achieve?

Despite the slump on crude oil prices over the last 2-3 years, the Saudis are not short on cash, despite the huge and growing deficit they are running. Their reserve cash is estimated to be a whopping three quarters of a trillion American dollars, and the unit “trillion” has been chosen here because it is the millions of the 21st Century and billions have become too small to consider.

That said, the Saudis have recently pledged nearly a third of their stash on “investments” with the USA. The first allotment came in the form of an undertaking to invest over 100 billion dollars in the American housing sector less than a fortnight ago, and upon Trump’s historic Riyadh visit, the Saudis signed an excess of 100 billion dollar arms deal contract. This is a total of an excess of 200 billion American dollars to be injected into the American economy. But on the scale of trillions again, this huge figure amounts to only a mere 1% of America’s staggering official 20 trillion dollar debt.

A drop in the ocean perhaps if taken into the context of the American economy and debt, but there is little doubt that this Saudi money will create jobs in the USA, and if President Trump is still sticking by the promise of creating jobs, he’s on the money with this one too.

Thus far, and nearly four months after his inauguration, it can safely be said that the most predictable thing about President Trump thus far has been his unpredictability. But with all of his eccentricities and swings, what was it that made him swing in favour of Al-Saud? It may not be very difficult to solve this puzzle if we look at the chain of events.

Surely, the USA has a lot of strategic interests in the area, and these interests are multi-faceted. Among other things, the USA wants to protect the long-term wellbeing of Israel, curb the influence of Russia and Iran in the region, have a share in the decision making of the “War on Syria”, and last be not least, keep a tight control on Saudi oil and cash wealth.

One of Trump’s election promises was to get America’s allies to pay their way, and he was very vocal about the Saudis saying on a number of occasions that protecting Saudi Arabia was costing the USA more than it should be paying for. Those subtle “threats” sent a wave of shivers down the spines of Saudi royals, especially that they were already in deep trouble financially and also bogged down in a protracted and highly expensive war in Yemen that seems unwinnable.

Given that the Saudis believed that former President Obama has let them down and did not invade Syria after the alleged East Ghouta chemical attack of August 2013, the unknown and rather unstable Trump looked like a wild card and they braced for the worst.

Knowing that they are in deep trouble and need America more than ever, feeling extremely nervous about the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudis realized that the only option they have with Trump was to appease him; “but how?”, they wondered. But when they put two and two together, and listened to Trump’s statements about Saudi Arabia, the Saudis realized that they can and will appease him with money; a quarter of a trillion dollars and counting.

Taking the big fat cheque book out is not a modus operandi that is alien to the Saudi psyche, because the Saudis have learned to solve their problems with money. And now, they believe that they are forging a new era of military and strategic alliance with the United States, and paying for this privilege with hard cash.

What they do not know is that whilst they were dreaming big, thinking that they are on the verge of becoming a regional superpower to be reckoned with signing an alliance with America, Donald Trump was signing a business deal, a sales contract; nothing more and nothing less.

The way Trump sees this is a win-win situation. If the Saudis do manage to get the upper military hand and curb the Iranians, he would have reached this zenith not only without having to fight Iran, but also whilst being paid for it. On the other hand, if the Saudis take a gamble to go to war with Iran and lose, he would have received his quarter trillion in advance. So for Saudi Arabia to win or lose, the deal makes America a quarter of a trillion dollar richer; or rather a quarter of a trillion less in debt.

In reality however, what are the odds of Saudi Arabia winning an open war with Iran? Or will this war eventuate in the first place? Back to this question later on.

In a part of the world that is highly volatile, supplying a huge arsenal of highly lethal weapons to a regime that is known for its atrocities, war crimes, inciting regional tension and creating conflict is pouring oil on an already raging fire. Trump’s arms deal with the Saudis probably marks one of the lowest points in America’s history. If anything, after the historic American-Iranian nuclear deal, America was in a position to play the role of an arbitrator and try to get the Saudis and the Iranians to reconcile; coerce them if needed. Instead, Trump turned his attack on Jihadi terrorism by supplying more support to the core and centre of terrorism (Saudi Arabia) and signed a huge arms deal that will only lead to further and much deadlier escalations.

With seemingly very powerful Sunni/Shiite animosities resurfacing after many centuries of dormancy, the pro-American axis happens to be predominantly Sunni and the pro-Russian resistance axis is seen to be Shiite; though it is not as such in reality. That said, the strongest Sunni army in the region is undoubtedly Turkey’s, and Turkey could potentially play a key role in bolstering Fisk’s Sunni-”NATO”. However, the Kurdish issue is a bigger threat to Turkey than Iran has ever been, and Turkey will walk away from its Sunni brothers and “NATO” allies if they were to support Kurdish separatists and arm them; and the irony is that they are.

Without Turkey, a Sunni-”NATO” will be a toothless tiger, unless perhaps it receives enough support from Israel; a support America will not be prepared to offer. But apart from some possible airstrikes and intelligence sharing, how much support will Israel give if any at all? And how much will Putin will be able to weigh in with his clout to keep Netanyahu’s nose out of it? Last but not least, how will the leaders of a so-called Sunni-”NATO” be able to “sell” the idea of getting into an alliance with Israel with its Sunni populace base?

There is little doubt that the Saudis now feel that Trump has given them a carte blanche to attack Iran, and if they swallow the bait fully, they may be foolish enough to take the gamble. But first, they have to finish off Yemen, and then look back and think how they miscalculated when they planned the so-called “Operation Decisive Storm”, and which was meant to be a swift and successful operation. More than two years later, victory seems further than ever predicted all the while the Yemenis have been improving their missile manufacturing capabilities and have been able to hit targets in the capital Riyadh.

Whilst the Saudis were begging the Americans to sell them more advanced weapons to win the war in Yemen, the Yemenis were developing their own. But given that Saudis believe that all problems can be solved provided one is prepared to spend as much as needed, the bottom line for them will always be, “how much?”

The Saudis will not only have to re-evaluate the short-sighted military gamble they took in Yemen, but also the financial one. No one knows for certain what has thus far been the dollar cost that the Saudis had to cough up, but it is in the tens of billions of dollars. With a country that is currently running a near 90 billion dollar budget deficit and diminishing returns, to gamble one third of the national savings on a new war aimed at Iran is tantamount to both, military and financial suicide.

If a war against Iran is at all winnable by the Saudis, what will be the dollar cost?

If the budget ceiling was broken, just like that of Operation Decisive Storm, and if the Saudis realize that the over 100 billion odd dollars they “invested” to buy state-of-the-art weaponry from the USA was not enough, by how much will they be prepared to lift the cost ceiling? They will only need to break the ceiling 3-4 fold before they actually run out of cash reserves. Such a budget overblow is not unusual in wars, and Yemen and Syria are living proof for the Saudis to learn from; if they are capable of learning.

A war against Iran will perhaps be Al-Saud’s final gamble option, but unless the Saudi royals change their rhetoric and seek reconciliation with their Shiite neighbours, this war could well be Al-Saud’s only gamble option.

But the bottom line to any military action is military pragmatism. How can the Saudis think that they can invade and subdue Iran when they haven’t been able to subdue a starved and besieged Yemen? In the unlikely event that they will be able to serve Iran with a swift “shock-and-awe” strike and achieve prompt victory, what will add to their woes is Iran’s ability to close the Strait of Hormuz and to also hit oil production areas and ports. In simple terms, the Saudi war on Yemen is expensive enough, but a war with Iran will be much more expensive, and one that will cut off Saudi life-line; its income.

Do the Saudis believe that expensive imported hardware is going to give the military edge they need? “Knowing” Trump, he will likely wait till the Saudis are down on their knees begging and then extort them by hiking the price of an elusive “super weapon”, perhaps even an A-Bomb, that will tip the war in Saudi favour. But “knowing” the Saudis and Iranians, if the Saudis attack and start an all-out war on Iran, then this may indeed earn the name of decisive storm, but not on Saudi terms. Will Iran virtually walk into Saudi Arabia? Such a scenario cannot be overruled. More than likely however, America will continue to feed the fire for as long as the Saudi cow (female camel in this instance) can be milked and for as long as there is money to be had. For as long as the infamous Al-Saud are on the throne, the kingdom will continue to be run by the same old rules of arrogance that will not stop until that evil legacy is down and vanquished.

 

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